Coolant Pipe Rework Surprise! Pipe Maker?

Discussion in 'Workshop Forum' started by RZSR X, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. RZSR X

    RZSR X True Classic

    Darwoodious great pics and now I can see how much time you have spent on this. If there was an award for better engineering of factory Italian engineering you would be in the finals (no bottle of vino for you at lunchtime!). Also helps to have a rotary and a striped X for this work. Is your heater pipe an exact copy of the bend and height as the original pipe was in the front?

    Dr. Jeff after seeing these pics the idea of piggy backing the heater pipes looks very doable especially if the inner/upper pipe has a slightly tighter radius to the lower heater pipe where they enter the oval hole! I feel deleting the drain plugs is a good idea.
     
  2. RZSR X

    RZSR X True Classic

    Correction: A tighter bend radius for the heater pipe is not possible from Brown & Miller, something about their only die tool.

    So either the upper pipe enters the oval hole sooner (darwoodious pic #4 closer to the rear of the oval hole)(which also means making it 1' shorter at the tunnel box exit in the rear so it doesn't run into the cooling pipes) or the oval would need to be enlarged forward for the 2nd lower heater pipe to enter and rise.

    It's an Italian puzzle!
     
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  3. darwoodious

    darwoodious Darin Nelson

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I borrowed a bender (https://probender.com/product/pro3-hydraulic-tube-bender/) from my brother - I would've gotten a manual horizontal bender, but this was borrowed - and since 5/8" and 1-3/8" are very non-standard for tube bending (1-1/4" and 1-1/2" are standard for frames, roll cages etc) I also picked up a 5/8" die and a 1-3/8" die. the 5/8" is 3.5" CLR (center line radius) while the 1-3/8" is 4.5" CLR. For both the radiator tubes and the heater tubes, they're tighter than that - but they're not mandrel bent and thinner material that I was using (0.065"), so my bends are wider than stock.

    For the heater tubes it doesn't really matter and you ought to be able to "sister" them in the lower tunnel. I have both the stock ones removed and can take some photos over some 1"x1" graph paper - that might help you plan.
     
  4. Hi Darin. Beautiful work there !!! So nice to see someone "doing it right".....Are you and Rodger brothers or something LOL ?

    But...i do have a couple of questions if you would be so kind..

    I am thinking of getting a similar type of bender ( a JD2 horizontal ). To do similar types of projects. But...internet information seems vague on their capabilities to bend fairly thin wall material ( like you seem to using ) in fairly small diameters (like you are) in a fairly tight radius ( again like you). From what i can gather, you are on the ragged edge...

    So...what material were you using - stainless what grade ? and what wall thicknesses ? How were the bends ? Hard to see in your pics but was there any wrinkling or kinking or flattening ? did you perchance try to bend a greater angle just to see ?

    This is absolutely NOT a criticism - gosh please dont take it that way - i'm just curious.

    Thanks, Doug
     
  5. darwoodious

    darwoodious Darin Nelson

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks Doug,

    No criticism taken. I'm not a pro at this - first time bending tubing - so some criticism would be appropriate.

    * I too would've preferred the JD Squared bender and good instruction using that on a YouTube channel.
    * I used .065" (1/16") 304 seamless stainless steel tubing for both. the 5/8 bended perfect you can see on one of the photos. The 1-3/8 (and 1-1/4 to the K20 engine) didn't like the tighter radius and had some crinkling on the inner radius. Not bad tho. you can see it on the photos.
    * because I needed a tight radius and because the bending tool needs like 2+ inches of "leader", I ended up cutting and welding (SS tig with backpurge) the tight "S" curves out back. I wasn't aiming for exact match at the bends, rather that the tubes cleared everything and ended in the right location at the ends.

    Honestly, I started this entire do-it-yourself-bending project because I wasn't aware that I could have SS tubes bent and mailed to me. Had I known, I would have just bought them!

    Once I decided to do it myself, I wanted to make them structural which is why I went with thicker walled tubing. I think that stock they're closer to 1/32" (.035), which is about half the price but the thicker walls will have some decent strength.

    I attached some photos of one of the "S" bends in 1-1/4" I did where you can see the subtle ripple both outside and inside the tube (needed to verify I had full penetration using a probe camera).
    IMG_20171226_214906.jpg 171226_214038.jpg

    EDIT: BTW, you can see that the 1-1/4" stuff I got wasn't seamless/dom stuff as there's a weld seam up it. I got that later after I figured out that I wanted to match the Honda engines size there.
     
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  6. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    Really nice job. Bending tube isn't the easiest thing to get right.

    Another consideration for the material being bent (in addition to the type, thickness, and diameter) is if it is annealed or not. Annealed tube is MUCH easier to bend and yields smoother, cleaner results. Sometimes seamed tube (vs seamless) causes problems when bending, but yours looks like it came out good.
     
  7. stingray250

    stingray250 True Classic

    Location:
    USA
    Forgive me if I didn't read thru the whole thread, but if you think the main coolant pipes you cut are still good, couldn't you just remove the box end caps on each end of the pipe tunnel and add some new pipe on to the nubs with some couplings? That would be the easiest way. I replaced my pipes also, with copper... They should outlast me and the car.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. RZSR X

    RZSR X True Classic

    Stingray250 you make a good point but since I have to install new heater pipes I figure running them in SS to the back in the tunnel box would be best.

    When I was cutting the pipes I noticed that the copper water pipes coming out the rear of the box dip lower than the box itself and were scraped up with some flat spots. This was the previous PO's daily driver with stock suspension at stock height. For me the X will be a seldom driven show/performance car with Koni coilover lowered suspension. Hitting the bottom at low points will be a given on our pot holed roads here.

    At first when I thought the leaks were the coolant pipes I thought I was making the quick easy fix but now that I know the rest of the system is bad and that I fubared the copper coolant pipes I now see this as a challenge to do right!
     
  9. darwoodious

    darwoodious Darin Nelson

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    My tunnel cover was a disaster when I got the car. Clearly the tubes leaked, they brought it to some ho-hum radiator/muffler show which used a grinding wheel to cut open the tunnel, braze the tubes (didn't work for very long ) then just bent it back close to fit and some crap tack welds.

    Stingray250's cover's look perfect - so keep it stock. Mine were a mess, so why not upgrade the chassis? Anyways, I did it all the hard way - there are clearly easier & cheaper ways to get the same results. Just sharing cuz it's fun and I enjoy seeing everyone else's crazy projects!

    BTW - if you want to borrow the 5/8" and/or 1-3/8" dies for a bender, I'm happy to do that. Not sure how it works but I see others doing it here - PLUS it's not like that's very popular size for tube bending unless you own an X1/9.

    -Darin
     
  10. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    Sheesh, some of us use fancy aluminum brackets, Darin, and some of us use safety wire, me. I readily admit your setup is a lot sexier than mine,
     
  11. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    The ITC racer I bought had straight copper pipes in the box with stock bent ends attached with short section of radiator hose. I guess this is a poor man’s solution but it works.
     
  12. Rupunzell

    Rupunzell Bernice Loui

    Location:
    California
    5/8" OD heater tubes. Consider using copper nickel tubing (same as brake and clutch tubing) for the heater tubes. This copper alloy has good corrosion resistance, easy to work with and should last well when plumbed-routed outside the center coolant tube housing or inside the center tunnel.

    This means contacting an industrial tube supplier to get this tubing.
    http://catalog.wosupply.com/index.php/products/pipe-and-tubing/cuni_90_10

    Not convinced copper tubing used for plumbing is the material to use for coolant tubes... even if this has been done.


    This tubing with a good quality tube bender made by Swagelok (designed for SST and EXPENSIVE), Eastman Imperial, Rigid or similar industrial 5/8" tube bender with a beading tool and tube cutter will get this did.


    Stainless steel tubing comes in a large variety of alloys, wall thickness, welded, seamless and more. The advertised material "Stainless Steel" does not have much value unless the actual SST alloy and tube construction is known and properly applied to the application.

    The SST coolant tubes made by B&M were made of seamless annealed 304 stainless steel tubing. This was what B&M had in stock as they were using a lot of this tubing for NASCAR cooling system fab back about 2008 when this project was discussed with Rick at B&M. The Lancia Scoprion- MonteCarlo coolant tubes are also made of stainless steel (1.5" OD), but it is welded and thinner wall due to it being a non-volume part. This tubing was purchased specifically for those Lancia coolant tubes. I made the choice with Rick not to use that tubing as IMO they would be a fitment problem due to the coolant tube cover and lower quality welded SST.

    The topic of the coolant tube housing beans structural is another item of debate, IMO, it IS structural and should be treated as a stressed structural part of the body.


    Bernice
     
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  13. darwoodious

    darwoodious Darin Nelson

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Agreed. I spent considerable time thinking of ways to boost the structural performance of the X - adding to the side members, making the center tunnel stronger. In the end, after having to replace the cooling tubes and the lower cover, why not do it there. It's a sort of "zen" thing looking at the chassis on a rotisserie with no doors, just the raw frame when you realize what the designers were thinking when they designed it, why the dash under structure is the way it is and the center console structure is the way it is.. IS the way is is.

    So I decided to do it via the lower tunnel and the coolant tubes. I have spent some time designing a test to determine just how much strength my own design has added to the chassis, but it would be a LOT of work:
    * start with existing parts car
    * build a deflection measurement tool to test my current "stock" parts car
    * make a stock reading
    * remove the stock "tunnel cover" and test
    * replace with a beefed up tunnel cover; test
    * weld in some tubes; test

    I'm not sure I have the time or patience for it. I still have the extra chassis sitting in the alley behind the house so I might still do it... I'd sure like to know.

    The X1/9 is very good stock. It'd be cool to know simple ways to make the chassis just a bit better tho...
     
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  14. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    I'm surprised there is concern the X chassis needs beefing up in light of the fact that it was made to meet potential US crash standards. For racers it's not an issue as a roll cage is added that actually becomes a tube frame built within the stock chassis. Compared to traditional convertible sports cars of the time, like 124 spiders, the X is built like a tank.
     
  15. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    Another point I wanted to add is why all the concern about using SST for the coolant and heater tubes? The factory used non-SST and they last for 30 or more years and probably longer if the proper coolant mix was always used. Without sounding like the voice of doom (this happens as you stand on the doorstep of being 70) do you really think you will still have your X 30 years from now?

    I'm not adverse to issues discussed here, just wondering.
     
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  16. Rupunzell

    Rupunzell Bernice Loui

    Location:
    California
    This is very much a Philosophical question. Will there be an exxe thirty years from now, very possible, in thirty centuries, very likely much less so as with other relics from the past. Change is constant and all matter will eventually return to the cosmos including planet earth with each and every item and idea of human creation.

    One of my hobbies is restoring scientific and electronic instrumentation including microscopes. The really nice and significant ones are built to last life times with proper care and proper use by individuals who understand them. Most are design to the very limits of what is possible given the laws of Physics and the technology available at the time of their design and construction. Did the individuals, companies and all involved need to do this, NO, but they made a intellectual choice to do the very best possible. The results were, as time past, others who appreciated their efforts continue to appreciate them and use them as they were intended. IMO, this is a responsible way to using Earth's limited resources and an expression of art & science blended into a tool that can be helpful in many ways.

    The current crop of electronic instrumentation and similar is often not designed or built this way, they are designed and built to a price point intended to be obsolete and disposed of once a problem occurs as they are essentially non-repairable. Good for profitability, bad utilization of Earth's resources. Beyond this some of this stuff is truly awful to use.

    Getting back to why using the very best materials possible for modifications and restoration of an exxe, consider one's time, resources and more that is consumed in any of these projects. IMO, one's time is FAR more valuable than the cost of materials involved as once the finite time available to an individual cannot be replaced. There is also the do it properly the first time to significantly reduce and prevent any possibility of doing that project again for an extended time. Again, this becomes a Philosophical question.

    There is also the perceived monetary and market value of any exxe. In the case of a vehicle like a Lancia D24 which is very rare with significant market value, there is significant incentive to spend the resources required with very modest limits on cost to make it proper. Given the oppressed market value of the exxe, it is deemed unworthy of the best possible resources applied to make it the best it could be.

    Know the market value of any vehicle is more often than not perceived by it's audience rather than the vehicles design excellence, craft of build or content.

    As for the exxe chassis, occupant survivability in a crash is not quite the same as chassis designed for suspension geometry stability under load. Example, the NA Miata meets Fed mandated crash requirements yet it's chassis has the rigidity and stability of a boiled pasta noodle. If one is going to expend one's life time and resources to do a proper restoration, repair or improvement, why not do the very best possible.


    Bernice






     
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  17. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    As a retired person, my time is free, my funds are not, my involvement in Fiats is a hobby, not the preservation of automotive art.
    My NA Miata handled wonderfully on the street and trackdays, it's the 124 that handles like a wet noodle in stock form.

    Clearly we have a different view on these matters and that's fine, it's what keeps this forum alive and vibrant.
     
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  18. RZSR X

    RZSR X True Classic

    Back to a fun day in pipe world. I can attest that the box section is structural after all the effort it took to drill out just one side of the tunnel box from under the X today, ugh! Only went all the way through 4 times out of 34 holes!

    I think once the box is out and cleaned up I will weld a new lip strip of sheet metal over the lips with all the holes to add strength and allow me to tack weld it back where I want.

    Box Drilled.jpg

    And as someone mentioned earlier - to bad there is a fresh coating of undercoating over the factory coating, messy. To think I have another afternoon of drilling...
     
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  19. darwoodious

    darwoodious Darin Nelson

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I've pushed thru too - sometimes it happens. I've found that if you tighten up your center pin (there should be a spring tensioner at the top) and not "wobble" the drill and go a set amount of time/rotations, it works pretty well. Don't expect the drilled sheet to fall off - it's best if you need to use a little bit of leverage from a light chisel or screwdriver to pop it off.

    BTW, when you weld it back up you'll need to remove the carpet in your X so you don't catch it on fire. Since you'll have access, just take some of the center circles you drilled out, pop it in the floorpan (where you drilled too deeply) and back your weld with some copper or a copper spoon. I recommend doing that with all the welds so you reduce heat affected zone and any burn thru.

    Looks good!
     
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  20. PaulD

    PaulD Paul Davock

    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    I put mine back on with pop rivets and panel epoxy, avoiding the heat issues. Drilling ahead of time, click-it panel holders and a pneumatic pop riveter were essential though.

    Paul
     

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